As businesses struggle to attract talent, many are turning their attention towards contingent talent – not only to ensure they have the skills to succeed but also to increase the flexibility of their workforce.
With high volumes of non-permanent staff to source, hire, onboard, manage and keep track of, many internal talent acquisition and HR functions are struggling to keep on top of an ever-growing workload. For this reason, smart businesses are turning to Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to efficiently manage their ever-expanding, highly flexible contingent workforce.
MSP programmes are not only engaged to reduce the pressure on internal teams, however. They manage regulatory risk, ensuring compliance with local labour laws – even when operating on a global scale. Furthermore, businesses frequently experience significant uplifts in efficiency and cost savings when buying an MSP solution.
The global talent market: an expert view
“The share of contingent work in the global economy continues to grow. Without effective means in place to manage its potential problems like compliance risk, inconsistent quality and overspending are susceptible to snowballing as well. All too often we see organisations who, prior to implementing an MSP, couldn’t even begin to count the number of workers they have, let alone determine whether they’re getting value for money.
At the same time, competition for in-demand contingent skills is fiercer than ever. When you consider the critically important roles that many contingent workers fulfil (think of the number of contractors assigned to business transformation projects or agency workers brought in to scale up during peak periods), why wouldn’t you want to ensure you can access the very best and widest talent pools in the market, too?”
– Cameron Robinson, Client Solutions Manager, Guidant Global
Start with the pain points
For an MSP business case to be successful, the company needs to be fully on board with your plans. The most obvious place to start when putting a business case together is to evaluate the pain points within your organisation.
These could be anything from spending too much money on the contingent workforce, a lack of transparency across the business, risky hiring practices or simply inefficient or inconsistent processes.
Of course, not every HR or talent acquisition team will encounter all of these pain points – often, pain points can vary from department to department, region to region – but if your business case is to be successful, you need to effectively gather these pain points in a powerful problem statement.
A successful MSP solution will, of course, answer all of the pain points in managing a contingent workforce. But for the senior stakeholders signing off a business case, you will need to provide data to back up your existing preconceptions of MSP.
When researching Managed Service Providers, review case studies or industry reports that can put the meat on the bones of your business case. An effective MSP provider will publish their content online, but it’s essential that the data and research you gather are relevant to your own circumstances.
Get the right people on board
Once you’ve defined the pain points, gathered the data through research, and written a problem statement that resonates, it’s time to speak to people within the business to better understand the situation at the ground level.
The best place to start is to focus on areas of the business which experience the highest number of pain points. Logically, this is the section of the business which utilises the highest volume of contingent staff, engaged under different models. In many organisations, this is the IT or digital transformation departments.
For your business case to be successful, you will need the support of senior stakeholders within these departments to help drive the initial implementation of the MSP solution. If you listen and understand their problems and present an effective potential solution, getting the buy-in for a Managed Service Programme should be seamless.
Once you have the buy-in from key stakeholders, speak to other departments within the business which would also benefit from a wider MSP solution. Assess common themes that run across the organisation, as well as the individual challenges within departments. All of this information will be integral to your business case. The more information, the stronger your case.
Discuss solutions with MSP providers
While it’s important to understand your own business, it’s also worth seeking out the opinions of MSP providers. Doing so will allow you to work out which solutions will effectively solve the problems unique to your business.
No two MSP providers are the same. Though the solutions they offer can look similar on the surface, they are often different in application. Cultural alignment is key here. A Managed Service Provider will, if successful, be an extension of your business – managing hundreds, if not thousands of contingent workers.
A positive company culture match will increase the likelihood of solution success. Get it right, and you can address every single pain point you’ve encountered in your research while simultaneously saving the business money. Get it wrong, however, and you could wind up costing your business – both in terms of its reputation and its bottom line.
Understand the future impact of an MSP partnership
“One of the areas that I think gets forgotten in an MSP business case is how the MSP partnership can be used to strategically drive talent into the organisation. We often concentrate on the here and now of cost savings, reduced risk, improved visibility, streamlined process etc.
We need to help potential customers use an MSP as part of their overall talent strategy. How talent enters the workforce through the MSP, either directly, through the cloud or suppliers – can shape how your organisation develops and invests. Building a talent strategy in which the MSP plays a part goes a long way.”
– Doug Edmonds, Director, Guidant Global APAC
An MSP is not a quick-term fix. It’s a long-term collaboration that, if successful, optimises the way you manage contingent talent. As more and more businesses move towards hiring temporary, contract and gig workers, the competition for the brightest talent will surely intensify – especially in sectors and industries that require highly technical skill sets.